A Colorado Senate committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on a bill that would recognize gay and lesbian couples with civil unions.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a 1:30PM hearing.

The measure would give gay couples all the protections of marriage. Lawmakers are barred from pursuing marriage for gay couples due to a constitutional amendment which defines marriage as a heterosexual union. Voters approved the amendment in 2006.

In January, Democratic Senator Pat Steadman reintroduced the civil unions bill (Senate Bill 2) that died last year in a Republican-controlled House committee after the Senate approved the measure. Supporters in the House are looking for a Republican co-sponsor before introducing the bill there.

The Colorado Catholic Conference has called on Catholics to oppose the proposed legislation.

The Denver Post reported on Tuesday that Senator Shawn Mitchell is considering supporting the measure.

“I am open to a bill that solves the problems of couples who can't marry,” Mitchell told the paper.

However, the bill's major hurdle remains the House of Representatives, where last year the House Judiciary Committee killed a similar measure on a party-line vote.

Governor John Hickenlooper has urged lawmakers to approve the measure.